Michel Desjoyeaux stretches out his lead, and Mike Golding is plagued by more equipment failures

The leader of the Vendée Globe, Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB), has increased his margin over Roland Jourdain (Sill) and is now 169 miles ahead as they enter the Southern Pacific Ocean. Ellen MacArthur is still lying in 3rd place, but slightly to the north. She is sailing below New Zealand at present and is due to cross the same longitude as Auckland early tomorrow morning.

The leading boats are expected to pass Cape Horn and leave the Southern Ocean behind in about two weeks’ time.

MacArthur reports generally light winds interspersed with sudden squalls and says continuous making and reducing sail has been very hard work. She continues: “I’ve never seen squalls quite so violent as here. Going from 15-30 knots in one hit. I’m afraid for the gennaker, as it’s our last, though there is no option but to fly it if we are to make progress.”

Some 2,800 miles behind, Mike Golding is out of stormy weather and into light winds but an unpleasant sea. However, he continues to be plagued with equipment problems. His watermaker is still not working properly, and he has again had to resort to making it manually. Similar problems in the Atlantic led to him becoming dehydrated when his water supplies dwindled to just two litres. Golding says he can catch rainwater for now, but admits it could be a concern once he reaches warmer and drier latitudes.

This follows a problem with water in his fuel last week, which caused Team Group 4’s generator to fail. Golding was somehow able to solve this problem, but today he reports that he is cutting back on electrical comsumption in order to conserve fuel.